Saturday, August 20, 2016

Making Reservations by Margot Justes

I kept checking the hotel prices in Rome, and instead of going down, they kept climbing up. There are festivals and celebrations in Rome in October, there usually are but nothing that would keep the prices up for the unfashionable fall tourist season.

Has it now become trendy to go to Europe in the fall and avoid the tourist crush, long lines, and high prices? That would seem to be the case, but I’m sure if I waited until later in the season the prices would change, but unfortunately the ship won’t wait until I’m ready to book my hotel, it will sail without me.

Finally I made a decision and picked the Sofitel. I didn’t want it to sell out as many other hotels did, or wait until the prices go even higher. I stayed there before, it is on a quiet street, a five minute walk to the Spanish Steps, and a leisurely twenty minute walk to the Pantheon, and the Borghese Gardens are practically across the street, breakfast is yummy, and coffee sublime.

The property is lovely, and last time they upgraded me to a suite, a Nespresso machine in the room provided delicious coffee, a delightful veranda where I sipped my morning brew, and enjoyed the superlative view of Rome. I have no such expectations this time.

The airfare was the hardest to book. I found out that it is cheaper to book a round trip ticket, than one way, or multi city. I learned a lot about what works, and what doesn’t.

I have points from a credit card company, and was told I could transfer said points to a number of participating airlines, unfortunately those airline prices were much higher than the others, and the use of points to upgrade to business did not work at all. Either there were no seats available to upgrade, or the economy rates were astronomical. 

It is one of the reasons I’m not a fan of flying anymore, it is nightmarish to navigate the sites of various airlines. It is a complicated and time consuming process, unless you’re willing to plunk down a small fortune, and just give up. I’m not one of those people. What I did find interesting is that while booking a flight on line, I was told there was an error, and when I went back and started over again, the rate for the same flight, same time was much higher. Some error.

Since I was not able to use my points, I had the credit card company transfer the cash amount to my checking account to offset the cost of the airfare, it is a benefit but not as great a benefit as transferring my points to upgrade the flight. I now know that the terrific advertised benefit of transferring point for point to the participating airline was worthless. It may work for others, I’m only stating that it didn’t work for me for this trip. 

Air France offered a fantastic rate for business class, with a one hour and forty minute layover in Paris. I booked business going to my destination, and the least expensive economy seat for return, I won’t be using it since the cruise ends in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, that is one of the lovely perks of a transatlantic cruise. I was also able to book a reasonable and direct flight from Ft. Lauderdale home. It only took me a whole day, and a lot of patience, along with a great deal of frustration, and a full pot of coffee.. 

The transportation from airport to hotel, and from hotel to port will be provided by RomeCab, I’ve used them before and they’re reliable and reasonable.

After spending a frustrating week finalizing the trip, I needed a break from reality, of course that didn’t motivate me to continue with current WIP, the project of torture, it just doesn’t want to end, and my editor is expecting a finished product in September. On that note, I posted a few pictures from Rome for you to enjoy.

Margot  Justes
Blood Art
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath
A Hotel in Venice
A Fire Within

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